Lock snapping and snap safe locks

I wanted to include the information below in to my blog post Protect your home – Burglary prevention advice, as my previous blog post showed that a quarter of all burglaries in West Yorkshire are being committed by criminals using a technique called “lock snapping”. However, I thought I’d create a separate article to explain what exactly it is.

Following the concerns raised by West Yorkshire Police relating to the vulnerability of Euro cylinder style locks used mainly on uPVC doors, Yorkshire Police have issued the following advice: “Now is an ideal opportunity for householders to carry out a full review of all of their security arrangements including the replacement of Euro cylinder locks, which can be done fairly simply.”

What exactly is “lock snapping”?

A video from BBCs Inside Out – “Lock Snapping – The Euro Cylinder Lock Vulnerability”

As the name would suggest, this is where the lock cylinder is literally snapped in two by applying force to the cylinder. Thieves have devised methods of snapping these types of cylinders locks in a matter of seconds and are still able to operate the lock to open the door.

This threat can be considerably reduced simply by upgrading the cylinder to one that is specifically designed to prevent this method of attack. We recommend that all vulnerable doors using Euro-Profile cylinders be upgraded to incorporate ‘break secure’ cylinders.

How do I know if I have vulnerable locks?

Euro cylinders are mainly fitted to uPVC doors but some aluminium and wooden doors also use this type of lock, however you can’t tell from the outside if it is a vulnerable lock, it would need to be dismantled. Although this is fairly simple to do, my advice would be to contact a registered locksmith for advice.

If you have a Secured by Design door fitted after 2010 you can be confident that it will have a “Break Secure” lock. Please note this applies only to Secured by Design doors and not all doors.

So, what’s the solution?


Snap safe locks, are specifically designed to combat lock-snapping. A cylinder has been designed that will snap, however it will snap in a predetermined position leaving intact a portion of the cylinder that will still provide security and still require key operation to open, thus preventing the easy manipulating of the locking system.

A qualified locksmith can offer a full installation and upgrade service to meet your needs; or a replacement break secure euro cylinder can be purchased from any recognised DIY store. Replacement lock cylinders should meet all parts of the exacting British Standard Kitemark (BS EN 1303:2005) accreditation scheme. The minimum recommendation for wooden doors is five-lever mortice locks which carry the British Standard BS3621.

The Yorkshire Police recommend that if you have traditional nightlatch (commonly known as a Yale lock) fitted to your doors, do not rely on this as the only method of security. You must fit other locks, preferably deadlocks.

For more general household security advice check out my article Protect your home – Burglary prevention advice, or if you would like further information on snap safe locks or a free household security check contact me on 07711 294 248.

Source: BBC News and Yorkshire Police